I married a great guy. Which is, you know, great! Except for when his birthday rolls around (every. single. year) and I have to come up with a great gift for the guy who is great, and absolutely terrific at gift giving, but ridiculously difficult to buy a great gift for because he
is perfect in every way has everything, needs/wants nothing, and is happy with a card and a drill battery. Don’t even get me started on Christmas.
But, this year? This year I nailed it. It took some finagling and some cooperation/assistance from family (thanks, Mom), but finally, fine-all-y, after almost twenty years together, I managed to get him a great birthday present.
Most nights, I retire earlier than he does so I can have a little time alone in bed to read. About two months prior to Steve’s birthday he came to bed one Saturday night and said he had just watched a documentary on one of his all time favorite bands. He said they were making a 50th Anniversary tour and wondered if they would be coming to Connecticut. I’ll admit, aside from agreeing with him about how strange and wonderful it is that all these old bands are coming back on tours, I kinda ignored him because I have very little, if any, interest in the rock and roll bands he likes, and, also, I was reading my book, and that’s rarely the best time to talk to me.
A few weeks later Hayden mentioned to me that Steve had made her sit through a show the night before about “some weird hippie band Dad likes getting back together” and how bored she had been watching. I understood the boredom, but laughed at her because “hippie band” is not in Steve’s comfort zone. I looked the program up and realized he had watched the same documentary a second time.
We’ve been lucky enough to see a ton of shows over the years. Concerts, Broadway shows and plays, Shakespeare in the park…everything (or nearly everything) that I want to see, we see. We have never seen a concert solely because he wanted to see it because a) even though he always enjoys them, there are very few shows he wants to see, and b) when there are, he always says we can’t afford them or he doesn’t really want to see them that bad. But, he’d watched the documentary twice–mentioned it to me, and forced Hayden to sit through it.
I realized we had to go to the show, so I googled the tour to look for tickets: they were not coming to Connecticut, but did have dates in Madison Square Garden and TD Garden; opposite directions, but both basically and hour and a half from us, the dates being five days apart, neither one on the weekend.
I did what everyone does: I called my mommy. She agreed to come stay over with the girls and make sure they ate, completed homework, and got up for school in time to get ready and catch the rides I arranged.
So, I searched for tickets. Boston had better seats at a better price than New York, so I chose the latter date. When the girls and I told him we were going, Steve did the usual protest for a few minutes until he realized it was a done deal. Then he got really excited. We found a hotel a wee bit out of the city limits that had shuttle service to and from the concert, we picked up my mother, we made the ride arrangements to and from school for the girls, and prepared to leave early the morning of the concert. We wanted to spend the day in Boston (our favorite city), and eat an early dinner before the concert.
That morning Anna woke up with strep throat.
I took her to the doctor as soon as they opened and she got the first dose of antibiotic by ten in the morning. We debated for a few hours: skip the concert? Send Hayden with Steve? Have him go alone? Leave a sick kid with my lung compromised mother and just go? We hung out and hesitated for a few hours, then, miraculously, after only one dose of antibiotic, Anna felt quite a bit better and my mother felt comfortable with us leaving her, so we went. We arrived at the hotel with enough time to eat a quick snack and change our clothes before catching the shuttle to the concert.
The Who’s 50th Anniversary Tour was spectacular.
I was hesitant to go, and prepared to suck it up for a couple of hours while my husband enjoyed the show, because I didn’t think I knew any of their music, but it turned out I knew almost all of their music; I simply didn’t know the name of the band or that the same band sang all of it. We had a great time. We sang, we danced, we screamed and yelled…well, okay…I did all of that. Steve sang, tapped his fingers to the beat and swayed slightly in his seat.
I’ve seen a lot of music stars with the girls, and most of them put on good shows, but that is exactly what they are: shows. This was different. This was about the music not about the performance. We both loved every minute.
The next morning we had breakfast in the hotel lobby, did some shopping for the girls in downtown crossing, and drove home in time to pick them up from school. It was perfection.
I have no idea what I’m getting my husband for his birthday next year, but I guarantee it won’t measure up.